Sears shuttered hundreds of locations under the Sears and Kmart banners in recent years on the way to its October 2018 bankruptcy filing, but the embattled retailer is moving forward with its reemergence by introducing a new store concept.
Sears will open three Sears Home & Life stores in May, in Anchorage, Alaska; Lafayette, La; and Overland Park, Kan. These stores will be much smaller in size than traditional Sears stores, ranging from 10,000 to 15,000 square feet. The average Sears store can be larger than 100,000 square feet.Sears plans to convert three smaller stores it opened in 2017 to the new format.
The retailer is positioning these stores as a destination for hardline goods such as appliances, tools and mattresses, but the stores will not sell apparel. Sears also said it will be expanding its DieHard automotive brand into new categories, including lawn and garden equipment, to sell in the Home & Life stores.
The stores also will include a kiosk where shoppers can order online from Sears and Kmart and have the items delivered to their home, and a service desk where customers can confer with technicians about maintenance and repair issues and book house calls.
In the wake of former CEO and Chairman Eddie Lampert’s $5.2 billion deal to keep Sears alive through his hedge fund, ESL Investments, 220 Sears and 205 Kmart stores remain open. At the time of the bankruptcy filing, Sears had approximately 700 stores open. The company is still searching for a new CEO.
Going forward, Sears will be focusing on two core groups of customers, according to Peter Boutrous, Chief Brand Officer for Sears and Kmart: Baby Boomers who grew up trusting Sears and need to be won back, and young families who might be first-time shoppers.
Sears plans to ramp up TV, digital and social advertising and is planning to extend its Kenmore brand beyond major appliances into kitchen accessories, plates and knives, Boutros said.